Why doesn´t anybody talk about POP?

Has somebody noticed how few attention POP gets in Core 77 ? I think POP is a big issue, not because I like it, but because of the important amount of displays produced worldwide.
Countries like Mexico, where I live and work, where few product design is possible, are great POP producers. Three years of laboral experience have (sadly) taught me that this is the greatest work field for an industrial designer in Mexico. Everybody comes out from university dreaming about designing “cool stuff” (scooters, i-pods, footwear), but end up designing POP.

I mean, there ARE other fields for Mexican designers, such as handcrafted production, interior spaces, furniture, a few toys, and promotional material. Some firms, like Volkswagen Mexico have recently opened a design department, but we still don´t have much brave people willing to invest in design here. Technical limitations make it harder. On the other hand, we´ve got good handcraft work.

What is it like in other countries? (I mean, other than the US, where I know that product design is an every-day reality in a big majority of firms) Where do designers work???

rant first/

I get a little depressed when I see all the POP mechandising that floats into stores and straight in the hopper at the back with the change of hallmark seasons. What I would like to see in the field is better attempts to make POP reuseable for multiple product promotions. Maybe this is happening but I seem to just see a ton of the stuff broken down ready for recycle.

I know a few people who have, at some time, done POP design and while they enjoyed it they said the graphic designers they worked with had the lion’s share of the fun. For them, it became rather repeatative. When I heard this I thought perhaps the challenge could be to design POP merchandise that could reverse for the following marketing campaign or at least reuse some of the existing pieces (perhaps the base, or washable graphics, not just the design concept the actual finished product.)

The manufacturing side with regard to print and fabrication seems to improved leaps and bounds but the design side seems to have become stagnent. Why, perhaps the guidelines are too restrictive (stipulations by supermarket chains, etc.) or the break point of cost vs gain has been sharpened to a fine point.

Personally I would have loved to have done a point of purchase project in uni. I know that some student design POP type polling booths that were actually adopted for temporary electral offices (school halls, etc. taken over for the day) but I haven’t heard lately of any other such projects.

/rant end

So perhaps another field that seems somewhat inline is exhibition design. I am surprised that more work isn’t being done in Mexico for tradeshows, etc. up in the States. (Actually I am not sure if work isn’t already being done South of the Board). With the ability to fabricate in varying volumes, cost effectiveness and responsivenss, it seems like this could be great area to try to venture into.


hey guys could someone explain what POP is???

"P"oint "O"f "P"urchase (POP).

hard to argue with guest #2’s reply.

i moved to pop after the contract furniture ind. went superfly into the shitter. i did it for 3 years. here’s what i learned doing it for about 3 years:

1: speed. you need 3-5 concepts, YESTERDAY. then 3 more revisions, followed by 3 revisions of the revisions and 3 revised revisions of the revisions you just revised. yeah sounds like every other design job, but the pace is rapid. 3-5 concepts means renderings, and renderings sell better if you include product on them. these guys wanna know how many SKUs you can fit on it, how it’s built, a ballpark cost, etc. it’s a breakneck speed.

2: cost. it is SOOO crucial in pop. this means designing something to hit the parameters of lo-cost manufacturing. sounds boring, but pop manufacturers rely on you to make it exciting, even if the budget is $25 (not kidding)

3: big box stores. you do pop, you learn the ins and outs of dealing with big box stores. it’s BRUTAL. i have learned to appreciate paying a little more at the local mom & pop store for the local community and customer service. ugh.

4: branding and marketing. it’s a crash course in consumer experience. that’s what it’s all about. stray outside the brand philosophy and prepare to get your ego/designer sensability nut-kicked .

5: fashion. pop relies so heavily on trends and fashion because the displays are typically meant to last very long (product cycle). you HAVE to stay on top of it, or you look like you’re 3 steps behind.

i think i did pretty well, i made some great friends and learned a lot. i met some real trolls (celebrity names withheld), but i thank god i’m not in it anymore. if the economy falls again, i guess i can take heart i can always get a pop job to tide me over. :shrug:

Kung Fu Jesus kinda’ summed it all up. I did a couple POP’s while in the consulting biz. You look at most of these things in the stores and don’t give ‘em a second look. But there’s a helluva’ lot of design and engineering that goes into them. A very challenging business, and one that I hope to never enter!

Thanks for answering back. I thought that the hard panorama in POP was just a Mexican issue. Kung Fu Jesus did a nice summary of my 3-year experience. My portfolio is full of renderings and concepts that never reached final production.

Now that we´ve done some idea sharing, I come back to my original question: why doesn´t anybody talk about this? I mean, Guest #2 gives some cool ideas on POP development that I know that many of us have wondered about. It would be good to begin questioning the POP paradigm, and making other people conscious of the “scenery” that´s set every time they go into a supermarket, for example.

I had a brief stint in the POP (or POS: point of sale)/exhibition industry and i agree pretty much with all the other posts so far…

it’s a fast-paced, high-turnover, energy/passion draining industry where production cost is king and designer ego/sensibility/creativity unwanted burdens…clients are usually idiots who think they “know design” but ultimately wouldn’t fork out an extra cent to have a better display or to save their own lives - sometimes you get some ok clients who are willing to let you try something new and “exciting” but most just ask for something they’ve seen at an expo but re-branded for their own use. :angry:

i reckon no one on core77 talks about POP (and this is my own opinion) because it’s recognised as the bottom of the “design ladder/hierarchy”…

DON’T get into the industry unless you have to…!!!

btw i’m from Australia, nothing exciting here…

i think you get out of pop what you put into it. there ARE a lot of frustrating, bullshit projects where you begin to wonder why you got up in the morning, but there are some interesting projects. i learned a lot of interaction design and multimedia development. i think the best thing i learned was marketing, branding, and consumer experience skills. it carries over to so many areas of design, i think it’s an over-looked skill set that can make you a bigger player in any development setting.